The Sad Truth behind Obesity in America
The obesity epidemic is real and it is plaguing Americans without any sign of stopping. In the last 30 years the obesity rate has doubled from 15% in 1980 to 30% in 2014 with statistics showing that this number is steadily increasing. This sad percentage means that out of every 10 people 3 people are categorized as obese. The sad truth behind this statistic is that it is not only affecting adults in our country but, it is now plaguing our children as well.
Portions and Control
If we go back and look at how Americans used to live 30 years ago we would see reasons on why our obesity rate has doubled. The fast food industry 30 years ago used to have one size portions and they were about 2/3 smaller then what we receive today. Our perception of what standard meal has greatly changed and that perception has also changed our waistlines. The government did try to get involved a few years ago to try to make a healthy America especially when it came to the fast food area. They made changes that stated that fast food companies had to get rid of their supersized meal options and also list the calories in their meals next to their products i.e. number 1 at McDonalds. The large companies did fight this however, they did comply somewhat. Now, at every fast food establishment the calories per meal is listed and their super sized option is gone, but is it really? The answer is no; what these companies did was make their standard medium now a small, large now a medium and super size now a large. Consumers are still getting their super size meal but, now they feel that they are making a better decision because, it is only a large and the consumers that were getting the standard medium before and now getting even more food as medium is the new large.
Portion control is not only affected when we go out but, also in our own homes; because we are so used to what is the ‘normal’ portion we are blinded as to how much food we actually consume.
Lack of Activity
The lack of activity is also a great contributor to the rise in obesity. As adults our work day has increased as well as most of our commutes. The work day used to be 9-5 with an hour lunch in the 1980s but, that is far and few between these days. Most Americans work a combination of 8-5 or 830-530 with a 30 minute lunch and an added 30 minutes to an hour commute each way. This leaves very little time for exercise especially if you have a family. This is also true for our children; in the 1980s our children were getting the recommended amount of exercise outside during recess at school or by playing outside when they returned from school. Now recess is nearly non-existent or very limited and with the use of technology and the lack of parents home due to their long work days our children are not getting nearly enough physical activity to keep up with their caloric intake.
Sadly, if we don’t do something to change the way we are living this obesity rate which is already extremely high is going to continue to grow. Our youth are going to have health problems and our middle age adults are going to die prematurely. If we don’t take action, obesity will be the number one health problem in America.
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